10 Activities in Florence Your Kids Will Love

May 03, 2014
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Florence’s fascinating art, culture, and history are just naked marble people, cobblestones, and old buildings to kids. Navigating the narrow streets of a Renaissance city with a little one on your arm can be a challenge. But if you head in the direction of these 10 activities, enjoyment all-around is almost guaranteed:

1. Day Camp

Drop off the kids and take one relaxing day for yourself; you’ve earned it. Canadian Island offers two summer day camps in English. Even though the camps are week-long, tourists’ children are welcome to join in on the fun for single or multiple days. The Via Gioberti camp, for 3-6 year-olds, is located in Florence, while the Centro Sportivo al Trebbio, for ages 6-14, is in the nearby Tuscan countryside (with daily pickup and return to Florence). Kids will participate in singing, games, arts & crafts, and pool time; and the older group will also get to try their hand at horseback riding, ropes courses, archery, and sports. Both camps provide organic lunch and healthy snacks and give your children the chance to interact with Italians (kids & adults) in the comfort of the English language.

Day camp

2. Bike Tour

I Bike Italy offers bike tours in the Tuscan countryside, and the Classic Tuscany Tour has something for the whole family (kids age 10 and over). Adults will surely appreciate the wine tasting and lunch in an Italian family’s villa, children will love the gelato stop and learning about the smells of wild herbs and flowers along the way. Both parties will enjoy trading the long lines, crowded museums, and busy streets of Florence for fresh air, country breezes, and waves of green hills rolling by.

Bike tour

3. Cooking Class

Rolling out pasta dough is just like playing with Play-Doh for kids, and every adult in Italy wants to learn how to use a pasta machine. In a Handmade Pasta & Typical Dessert Cooking Class (for children over 8), you’ll make three different types of pasta and sauces, plus strawberry panna cotta. The less-advanced in the kitchen can try a simple Pizza & Gelato Making Cooking Class, where everyone can get their hands dirty making two of the world’s most favorite foods. Children age 0-5 are free, 6-12 year-olds get a 50% discount.

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4. Paper Making Course

Artisan paper-making is a huge cultural tradition in Florence and something unique you can’t do anywhere else. If you’re traveling with a little artist, a Paper-Marbleizing and Book-Binding Course is a great family activity – and both works of art are yours to keep! The swirling vibrant color in your handmade paper will make great gift wrapping, and the book you cover could be the perfect travel diary for your trip.

5. Segway Tour

After all that walking, everyone’s going to be dying to rest their tired feet. Instead of taking a day off and missing out on more sights, why not hop on a segway? The Florence Segway Tour covers all the city’s main attractions in just 3 hours and 0 steps. Segways are surprisingly easy to maneuver and a fun alternative to seeing Florence on foot. Familes (2 adults, 2 children) get a 15% discount.

6. Kid-Friendly Museums

It’s hard to sell kids on Renaissance paintings and marble statues in their birthday suits. Instead of booking a traditional museum guide, hiring one specialized in children’s tours can make a huge difference (and even be more entertaining for adults). ArtViva’s Florence For Kids tours include the Uffizi, Palazzo Vecchio, and The Accademia.

7. Gardens

After all that cobblestone, your children will be elated to see some green. Florence is full of gorgeous gardens with plenty of wide open space to explore and play. The famous Boboli Gardens are the largest and open year round. But if you’re lucky enough to visit in the spring, you can also catch a glimpse of the beautiful blooms and spectacular panoramas of the city from the hilltop Iris and Rose Gardens (if you don’t mind a 15-minute hike). The Giardino dell’Iris is open from 10:00-12:30/15:00-21:00 daily from the 25th of April to the 20th of May. The Giardino delle Rose is open from May 1st to July 31st, from 8:00-20:00 daily. Both are located under popular Piazzale Michelangelo and have free entrance.

Boboli

8. Food Tour

The Florence Food Tour is a delicious adventure for the whole family. It has 5 different stops, including Florence’s biggest market. Inside the Mercato Centrale, kids will be captivated by the sights, smells, and tastes of fresh baked goods, colorful produce, and some of the strangest cuts of meat they’ve ever laid eyes on (let’s just say Tuscan cuisine is known for using every part of the animal). Adults will enjoy the Italian espresso, loads of wine, and delicacies like truffle sandwiches. And the gelato finish will be everyone’s favorite part. 6-12 year-olds get 30% off.

Food tour

9. Carousel in Piazza della Repubblica

Central Piazza della Repubblica is your best bet for free entertainment during sightseeing breaks. During the day, street performers gather in the square to perform everything from opera to puppet shows. At night, historic Paskowski cafe often hosts live singers and dancers who rock out to American oldies that can be heard throughout the square. There’s even a carousel here, offering up rotating rides for a few euro.

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10. Bartolucci Store

Bartolucci is also known as the Pinocchio store, as it resembles a real-life version of Gepetto’s workshop. This woodcrafts company features every carved toy imaginable, along with a life-sized Pinocchio kids love to take their picture with.

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